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Why I think the word WORKOUT needs to be changed!

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Why I think the word WORKOUT needs to be changed!

Kids Having Fun

I don’t know about you but the word “work” can conjure up all kinds of horror visions for me, working at a desk all day, having no choice in what we do and having to work to times and conditions that other people set for us and DEFINITELY no fun until the weekend (unless you are one of the lucky ones who love their work, but then it isn’t really work is it?)

So why on earth do we call exercise a “workout”?

With the above description in mind no wonder we are starting to see less and less people moving and exercising.  When I was a child in my house we were told you have to work hard, that life wasn’t meant to be easy and many other joy inspiring quotes that made work seem like the most boring, torturous thing on the planet. So when we put that word to a phrase associated with exercise, what do we start to see, you guessed it work! Hard, boring and definitely not easy, WORK!

For some the word work does invoke visions of a job well done, a task completed, so the word workout is such a fitting word, filled with accomplishment and achievement and it becomes a task of joy and excitement. In my experience this is a rare and uncommon trait. If you are person like that, I want you to know I am in awe of you!

But let’s for the moment flip the coin to the other side, where for most of us work is something that we tolerate and then we’re told that not only on top of the regular type of work we do, we also have to go and work out on top of that to make ourselves fitter and healthier. At this point to me this is definitely not looking like a barrel of laughs. In fact it looks like me running around in a suit drowning in paperwork.

tube riding on lakeThis is where things get really interesting though; what would happen if we changed the word Workout to Fun Time or Play Time just like we had when we were kids. What are you picturing now? How does your body change when you think of play or fun rather than work? What sort of activities do you see? Do you feel a smile on your face? Think for a moment of what most kids say, do children say “I’m going for a workout now”? Or do they say “I’m going to play with Johnny down the road or I’m off to ride my bike now”?

It’s interesting isn’t it how a word can change how we see some things differently. Is it possible that we could look at exercise differently and allow ourselves to play and enjoy more if we focused on the play aspect of exercise rather than the work? The one thing I have noticed time and time again is the people that come to my gym start with the feeling that they are there because it is something they think they should be doing, they are looking for a difference in appearance or someone either a Doctor or a loved one has told them they need to improve their health.

I can honestly say in my years of being in the gym I have never heard anyone say “I’m here to have more FUN, when can Play Time start?”  Most who walk in one of the first things they say is I’m really nervous and I don’t want to work too hard while I’m just beginning.” Already from the start their own mind is against them and chances are if I can’t get them to relax and see the fun in exercise, I won’t see them after a couple of weeks.

This is so such a sad state of affairs for me because everything I do has to be fun, while I take my work in the fitness industry very seriously. I am so aware of the responsibility I have, I don’t have to be weighed down with this and go about training people in a serious manner, everything we do at the gym is geared around fun and play, right down to the visualizations used in a Spin or Yoga class.

Giving people permission to have fun while exercising is my Play Time, when people are playing with their exercise everything feels different, their energy is much higher, the pain is much lower (yes smiling while lifting weight can help!) and the amount of time they can exercise for is much longer, because yet again the body and mind does not see it as work, merely play. These are all such amazing reasons to change how you look at exercise. Don’t you want it to enjoyable, easier, and to be able to go for longer?

flying kiteAnother great thing about changing to play is how many opportunities you will see for exercise, because guess what, you won’t see them as exercise, they will become just another excuse to play and to have even more fun. When I changed my mind set on how to have more fun rather than do more work I found myself really loosening up and opening up to things that I would never had even tried before. I found myself up a tree with my 9 year old; I rode my kid’s scooters, I started water-skiing at 39 (well attempting anyway) and with this mind set I now am fitter than I’ve ever been with no more time spent at the gym.

I want you NOT to take my word that Play Time is better than Workout, I want you to try it. The next time you think to yourself and sigh that you have to go and do a workout, change what you are saying to yourself to “Wow I wonder what I’m going to do for my Play Time today?” Try this for a couple of weeks and see what a difference Play Time has.

We need to have more play in our lives, more laughter and much more fun, as the say Laughter IS the best medicine and there is no way you will be able to hold your laughter back while you are playing.

Go on I dare you! Play! Tip you’re It!

Now doesn’t that feel better?

About the author: Dawn describes herself as an Alternative Fitness Coach, Mother, Wife and Gym Owner, who believes in Having Fun with Fitness. Her Motto: Let’s Play More! She went from a self-confessed couch potato of 35 years to a blogger at CreativeFitnessCoaching.com writing and filming all things Fun with Fitness. She now even hosts her own WebTV show Help! My Fitness Sucks, alongside her 2 young and excitable kids.

Author Profile: Dawn Fritsch

Author's Website Dawn describes herself as an Alternative Fitness Coach, Mother, Wife and Gym Owner, who believes in Having Fun with Fitness. Her Motto: Let’s Play More! She went from a self-confessed couch potato of 35 years to a blogger at http://www.creativefitnesscoaching.com writing and filming all things Fun with Fitness. She now even hosts her own WebTV show Help! My Fitness Sucks, alongside her 2 young and excitable kids.

Disclaimer: The views of the author are his or her own, and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Ask The Trainer.

Comments (6)

  1. Sukanya from Best Fat Burners Diary says:

    The best way to treat exercise in a positive way is to believe that it’s fun and helpful. Making things too hard for yourself will even make things, or let’s say exercise hard. Lighten up yourself and enjoy! Look forward to the results with joyful expectancy.

  2. Dawn Fritsch says:

    Thanks Jarrod

    I totally agree as an athlete if you only enjoy the competition it will be very hard day by day to keep your momentum going. Looks like your athletes are in great hands.

    Glad you like the webtv show. I have to say I LOVE putting it together. Such FUN!

    Dawn

  3. Jarrod Fritsch says:

    Great article Dawn.
    I totally agree, exercise has to be fun. If it is not fun, why do it.
    We all love to play and the word play makes us think like a kid again and as a kid exercise was fun.
    As I say to my athletes, the training is the cake and the racing is just the icing on the top.
    Also, I love your WebTV show. Keep them coming they are super.

    I look forward to hearing more from you.

    Cheers

  4. Prue says:

    Heh Dawn. Great article. Couldn’t agree more. I never think of my once a week pilates class as a workout. I’m looking forward to seeing the other people and Sheri my instructor and what my body is going to be able to do this week? It makes such a difference to how I approach the class and my outcomes. Your article really made sense of what I’ve been doing and I’m glad I got my mind (and my body) going in the right direction. Thanks for your great thoughts.

  5. I like it! This will definitely make exercising more fun for me. Thanks for helping me reframe my thoughts around exercise.

    I liked how you said you even use playful visualizations during different classes. Do you have any ideas for how to get started making exercise more fun?

    Thank you!

    • Dawn Fritsch says:

      Hi Mary Ann
      I’m glad you like it and I know that the more “play time” you do the more you will just automatically look for more fun things.

      How I started to make exercise fun was just to think of all the things I enjoyed doing eg listening to music, reading, photography and tried to make an excuse to exercise from there.

      For example when running I looked for things around me that I would love to take a photograph of and challenged myself to get back quickly so could go out again and take a photo. It’s amazing what you can see when you are running :)

      Basically just look for the things that make you smile and use your imagination, think like a kid and you will literally astound yourself with what you can come up with.

      Dawn

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